Las Vegas gets busier every day. The warmer weather is giving regional visitors another excuse to drive into town for a few days of fun. COVID-19 vaccinations encourage guests from around the country to fly once again. It’s almost as if the global pandemic is coming to an end.

Las Vegas is noticeably busier than any time in more than a year. The streets are full of tourists and the casinos are packed with gamblers. So many restaurants have lines of people waiting. Restaurants and bars are still operating under 50% capacity limits. This should be changing soon.

Nevada governmental officials will be revising capacity limits and restrictions for Nevada casinos, restaurants, bars, and shows by May 1. Between vaccinations and the continued opening of Las Vegas, even more, people will likely be visiting Las Vegas.

Flying To Las Vegas

It’s probably been a while since you’ve booked a flight to Las Vegas or anywhere in the world. Airline policies have changed a lot over the past year or so. Thankfully, WalletHub is keeping track of changes and has some useful information on frequent flyer programs.

WalletHub compared the 10 largest domestic airlines’ frequent flyer programs. The company compared 21 metrics ranging from the value of a rewards point to mile to blackout-date policies. Both are useful when using frequent flyer programs to fly.

Here’s one major takeaway from this study:

Delta Air Lines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, and Frontier Airlines are the five major airlines whose miles do not expire because of inactivity. This is huge after a year or more of not flying.

The prices of flights are seemingly increasing every day. Maximizing frequent flyer plans could be especially useful for anyone that hasn’t flown in more than a year.

Best Frequent Flyer Programs

Not everyone has the same needs from a frequent flyer program. It’s important to understand that this is a general scoring system used to offer a general overview. Individuals might have their own preferences.

For example, I fly mostly to New Jersey or Philadelphia from Las Vegas. United often has the most direct flights to Las Vegas from NJ. Delta typically has the most direct flights to Philadelphia from Las Vegas. Those rankings might mean more to me than someone with different hub airlines.

According to WalletHub, these are the best frequent flyer programs:

  1. United Airlines – MileagePlus
  2. Alaska Airlines – Mileage Plan
  3. Delta Air Lines – SkyMiles
  4. American Airlines – AAdvantage
  5. Hawaiian Airlines – HawaiianMiles

These airlines have hubs at airports in some of the largest cities like New York/New Jersey, Atlanta, Philadelphia, and more.

Key Takeaways

Here are some key takeaways from the WalletHub study. The first highlight will likely affect most people who haven’t flown in more than a year.

  • American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, and Alaska Airlines give preference to frequent flyer program members when deciding whom to bump from overbooked flights. It’s probably not a surprise that these are the top four ranking frequent flyer plans.
  • United MileagePlus is the best frequent flyer program of 2021, ending a five-year streak for Delta SkyMiles at the top of the rankings.
  • Delta Air Lines SkyMiles ranks #1 for having the most additional features.
  • Hawaiian Airlines offers the most rewards value, at $24.19 per $100 spent. Frontier Airlines comes in second, with $20.99 per $100 spent.
  • Five of the 10 largest airlines are offering more rewards value in 2021 than in 2020, sweetening the pot by an average of 30%.
  • Airline miles cost an average of 2.24X more than they’re worth when purchased rather than earned.

Best Features For Frequent Flyer Programs

Each of the top five Frequent Flyer programs better serves its customers in certain areas. Take a look:

United: Best for overall airline and partner coverage
Alaska: Best for redemption policies and partner coverage
Delta: Most additional features
American: Best airline coverage
Hawaiian: Best rewards value and redemption policies

Hopefully, this information will help you when booking your next flight to Las Vegas.

Marc

Marc Meltzer covers Las Vegas, gaming and men’s lifestyle for various outlets. Check out his blog at Edge Vegas.
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